While joining families seems so easy when a couple is dating, the reality is not always so beautiful and smooth sailing. Once everyone is living under one roof, things can get ugly between who gets the bathroom first in the morning and who has to take the garbage out. There are a few things to remember when combining households in blended families.
Children often have a hard time accepting leadership from a step-parent. So, parents should establish the rules together and relay those rules to all of the children together. This can include things like curfews, electronics time-limits, and household chores. When children know what is expected of them and that both parents are on board with the expectations, it is harder for them to disobey the rules.
Let Everyone Speak
Allow everyone in the family to specify their own limitations or needs. Sometimes there are simple things that kids don’t want to change from their previous lifestyle. If it’s something that can easily be continued like, “No one is allowed to borrow my clothes,” or “I need only Mom to read to me at night,” let them have their limit. Most importantly, make sure that everyone knows everyone else’s limits.
No Special Treatment
This should go without saying but all children need to be held to the same standard. There can be no special privileges for any that can’t be had by all. The negative effects of being left out can last a lifetime. In addition, consequences of negative actions should also be comparative, depending only on age and seriousness of the offense.
Schedule Family Time
Schedule family time and independent time. A family bond cannot be made when family members are never together. Put together a game night or a family dinner night so that everyone can interact in a healthy way. To the contrary, make sure that each individual is getting the right amount of private time. Being part of a bigger family can often mean never having your own space, which is equally important.
Protect Your Marriage
Keep the marital relationship strong. The children need to see a loving relationship with lots of positive communication. This is especially true when one of them comes to you with a problem. If you can work together to handle the problem for the child, they will value your bond and the family bond that much more.
Combining the households of blended families may seem challenging, but don’t worry, it can get better. If anyone in your household is struggling to adapt to the new living arrangement and would like to talk about it, or anything else, please Contact Us. Thanks.